What Type of Startup Manager Are You?

Diverse businesspeople in a meeting.

Everyone has their own management style when it comes to running a business, and understanding which particular style fits you best is key for improving your management skills and making your employees and workers love and respect you. 

In this guide, we’ll walk through what makes a good manager and discuss several different management styles that can be found in startups around the world. Once you understand your management style, you’ll be on your way to running your teams better than ever before.

What Makes a Good Manager?

What are the traits of a good manager, after all? If you have some experience managing individuals in your past roles or endeavors, you might have an idea and even some experience of what it takes to guide your team forward. 

Overall, a good manager is someone who sets a positive example for their team and knows how to encourage their team members, pushing them towards success. You’ll want to work alongside your team, create an inclusive environment, and personally coach and teach your employees certain tasks, skills, or specific activities as required. 

If you want to be a good manager, it's critical that you focus on communicating all of your startup’s goals clearly and succinctly. If your employees don’t understand your primary goals, how will they know what to strive for? 

Take the time to set and manage expectations and provide feedback on a consistent basis. If a time comes when your employees leave feedback for you or your startup, carefully consider that feedback and take appropriate actions. 

A good manager is someone who works at the level of their team, sets expectations, and clearly outlines the goals they want to achieve. As a manager, you are responsible for encouraging your team members and giving them everything they need to succeed.

Different Management Styles

No single manager is identical to another, and everyone has their own management style based on their past training, experiences, and beliefs. We’re going to walk through several startup management styles, including autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, persuasive, and visionary. 

Depending on the style that fits you best, understanding how you manage others will help you take your management skills to the next level and help your team grow and achieve your vision and goals.


Autocratic leaders, also known as authoritarian leaders, always provide their employees and team members with clear expectations detailing exactly what needs to be done, how it should be completed, and when it should be completed. This isn’t typically the most effective leadership style, as it doesn’t foster participation and commitment among members. 

If one typically leads by command and likes to maintain control, then they may be an autocratic leader. In this leadership style, there isn’t often a strong connection between the leader and the members, and autocratic leaders make decisions on their own without consulting the rest of the group for input.


Democratic leadership, or “participative leadership,” is considered the most effective leadership style. These types of leaders offer guidance to their employees and also take the time to participate in the group and listen to feedback and input from others on their team. 

Democratic leadership is a great leadership style because it encourages group members to participate and field their thoughts, but the final decisions and responsibilities stay with the leader. If you’re under democratic leadership in your organization, you’ll likely feel like you’re an important part of the team and will be more committed to your company’s vision and mission.


Laissez-faire leadership, also frequently referred to as “delegative leadership,” is one of the least productive management styles overall. These types of leaders typically offer little to no guidance to their employees and team members and leave all of the decisions up to them. 

As you can imagine, this type of leadership exudes little cooperation and often results in members not being able to work independently since they don’t really know what they’re supposed to be accomplishing. This type of managerial style can result in your employees blaming each other for their mistakes and ultimately creating an unproductive environment where work can’t get done.


Persuasive managers are very similar to autocratic managers in that they prefer to have strong, centralized control over all of the decisions they make. 

The primary difference between autocratic and persuasive leaders, however, is that the persuasive leader will also take the time to ask their members questions. Instead of saying, “do this or else,” these types of leaders discuss decisions with their team members. 

Additionally, a persuasive leader will typically encourage their team members to work on their tasks and stay productive through persuasive techniques instead of offering them rewards or giving penalties as an autocrat would.


Visionary leadership, similar to democratic leadership, is considered one of the most effective management styles that mobilize employees and team members towards a singular goal with great charisma, persuasion, and a high level of emotional IQ. 

Visionary leaders know how to articulate a clear vision for the future of their companies and get all of their team members on board with that vision. Visionaries are often authoritative experts in their fields or respective industries and have the credibility necessary to push people towards action with them acting as their guide. 

One downside to visionary leadership can come up if employees require more guidance or aren’t quite as developed compared to their coworkers. In this case, they require further training before they are able to act on the goals of the visionary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective management style for startups?

The most effective management styles for startups are the democratic and visionary leadership styles. Democratic leaders set clear expectations and outline clear goals for their teams and then work with their team members to make those goals a reality. Similarly, visionary leaders know how to mobilize their team towards action and are effective at getting their employees to see the ultimate vision of their efforts, motivating them to work towards that particular goal. 

What leadership skills do you need to start a business?

As a leader of a startup, some of the most important skills you can have include communication, the ability to set clear goals and expectations, and mobilizing people towards action with a clear vision. If you can get your team members and employees to work towards your business goals, you’ll be consistently moving forward. 

What are some of the top leadership qualities?

Some of the top leadership qualities exhibited by the best leaders include the ability to delegate, self-awareness, influence, empathy, integrity, gratitude, communication, and consistent learning and improvement.